Gabon’s Wildlife: Forests and Beaches

Explore the emerald green forests and pristine beaches of Africa’s Eden, where the only footprints in the sand are from elephants, gorillas, and hippos...

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16 days for £5,085 pp sharing

Other tour dates available on request

  • Includes all transport and domestic flights
  • Deposit £1,200.00 pp.
  • Single supplement £370.00 pp.
  • Maximum group size of 8
  • Excludes international flights

Download our 2013/14 Tours Guide for information on booking your flights and FAQs about our tours

Your lodge accommodation in Loango National Park

Gabon is an Eden of Africa. A remote country of great rainforests, coastal lagoons, and seemingly endless beaches, it is a haven for iconic African wildlife, including forest elephants, chimpanzees, and gorillas. With 13 National Parks, covering 12% of the country, this little-visited country is perfect for experienced African travelers and those in search of a true wilderness experience.

Our 16 day wildlife tour showcases three of the most important wildlife regions of Gabon: Loango National Park, Ivindo National Park, and Lope National. Starting our journey in the coastal lagoons and forests of Loango, where elephants roam the beach and hippos play in the surf, we move deep into the heart of the country to Ivindo National Park and Langoue Bai. The Bai (forest clearing) is an oasis in the heart of the jungle, where forest elephants and gorillas gather to feed and socialise and an impressive variety of other mammals and birds congregate. From Langoue, we move to Lope National Park. Here we explore the rolling savannahs and forests in search of red buffalos, elephants, mandrills, chimpanzees, and a variety of birds.

This tour is a journey into pristine wilderness areas and a world untouched by modern life.

  • Search for forest elephants amongst the lagoons, forests and shorelines of Loango National park. Gabon has one of the largest populations of Forest Elephant in Central Africa.
  • Search for several species of monkey in the forests of Lope and Loango National Parks, including Black Colobus and Red-capped Mangabey.
  • Track large groups of Mandrills at Lope National Park. Around 1,300 mandrills in one troop were observed in Lopé National Park. This is the largest-ever recorded aggregation of primates.
  • Observe some of Africa’s and the world’s most spectacular birds including African Fish Eagle, Goliath Heron, Hamerkop, Grey Parrot, Pel’s Fishing Owl and Great Blue Turaco. Other impressive birds to be found include Long-tailed Hawk, Grey-necked Picathartes, Vermiculated Fishing Owl, Black-headed and Rosy Bee-eater, and African River Martin.
  • Travel deep into the heart of the country to the forest clearing of Langoué Bai and encounter the forest elephants of Ivindo National Park. Some of the last greattusker elephants can be found at this bai.
  • Explore Gabon’s coastal lagoons, with hippos, manatees, crocodiles, and tarpon all found within the protected waterways.
  • Learn about the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lope National Park, known for its wildlife and anthropological value. Inhabited almost continuously for 400,000 years, Lopé includes artefacts of hunter-gatherer settlements, representing the oldest concentration of archaeological relics in central Africa.
  • Travel deep into the forests of Ivindo National Park and discover Gabon’s waterfalls., These are some of the largest and most impressive in central Africa.

Day 1 – After arriving in Libreville’s Leon Mba airport, you will be met by your tour guide and transferred to your hotel for an overnight stay.

Day 2 – After a tour briefing and breakfast, you will take a domestic flight to Port-Gentil and then a boat shuttle to Omboue. At Omboue you can enjoy an evening boat ride in the lagoon to spot various wildlife or visit the Saint-Anne mission.

Day 3 – You then travel to the coast and Loango lodge, via the Mpivie River. The Mpivie River meanders through the rainforest and your boat journey gives you the opportunity to spot numerous bird species, as well as a the Slender-snouted Crocodile. In the afternoon, you will have a game drive in the savannah to spot elephants, buffalos, red river hogs, and various species of monkeys and birds.

Day 4 and 5 – Depending on the season, you will either spend these two days at either Tassi Camp or Akaka Camp. Surrounded by wetlands and close to the beach areas, both camps offer you access to some of the richest and most diverse wildlife habitats in Gabon. Elephant. Gorilla, Hippopotamus, Chimpanzee, Sitatunga, and many bird species are all found here and you will spend your time exploring the areas on foot, by boat, and by vehicle. The chance to spot these iconic species wandering along the beach or playing in the surf is rare and wonderful opportunity.

Day 6 and 7 – Today you will head back to Loango Lodge and have the rest of the day to relax and bird watch around the lodge. You can also take a whale watching tour (depending on the season) and explore the beaches. On day 7, we travel back to Libreville.

Day 8 – Today you will have the chance to visit the colourful and vibrant markets and beaches of Libreville. In the evening, you will depart from the main train station for an overnight journey to Ivindo National Park. You will arrive in Ivindo around 6.00am. 

Days 9 to 11 – On arrival at Ivindo train station, you and your guide will be met by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). You then start the long journey to the research station deep in the forest. This journey takes you across rivers, through dense jungle, and up steep hillsides, and is the perfect introduction to the landscape of Ivindo National Park. On arrival at the research camp, you can either relax or explore the jungle around camp. The following days are spent walking with your guide and the researchers through the jungle in search or various mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. The environment is a rich wildlife habitat and home to a variety of iconic species, such as Gorilla, Forest Elephant, and Chimpanzee. The highlight of your trip to Ivindo is likely to be Langoue Bai. The Bai (forest clearing), is an oasis in the jungle where elephants and gorillas congregate to socialise in their groups and feed. The Bai is famous for its numbers of large ‘tusker’ elephants and populations of unhabituated gorillas that are regularly observed between April and July.

Day 12 to 14 – You will depart Ivindo and travel by train to Lope National Park. On arrival at Lope, you will be met by locals guides and staff from the Lope Hotel. This excellent hotel is the perfect base to explore the park and is situated on the Offoue River. Rolling hills, grass savannah, and thick forest will be explored on foot and by vehicle and you can expect to see a wide variety of animal species during your stay. If the season is right, we can also organise Mandrill tracking (Lope has the largest population of Mandrills in the world).

Days 15 and 16 – You will then leave Lope and take a short flight back to Port-Gentil. Here you can overnight before connecting with your international flight home via Libreville or Douala in Cameroon.

 

 

 

  • Forest Elephant
  • Western Lowland Gorilla
  • Leopard
  • Mandrill
  • Chimpanzee
  • Sitatunga
  • Impala
  • Grey Duiker
  • Hippopotamus
  • Forest Buffalo
  • Red-capped Mangabey
  • Red-river Hog
  • Slender-snouted Crocodile
  • Manatee
  • Leatherback Turtle
  • Humpback Whale
  • Black-chinned Weaver
  • Dja River Warbler
  • Loango Weaver
  • Gaboon Viper
  • Green Mamba

 

Many of the photos you see on this site were taken by amateur photographers on our tours.

Encounter the wild are privileged to work with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Gabon.

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Gabon is an internationally renowned conservation NGO that has a clear mission to save wildlife and wild places by understanding critical issues, crafting science-based solutions, and taking conservation actions that benefit nature and humanity. WCS has been in active in Gabon since the 1980’s, and started by supporting pioneering studies of forest ecology. Please read our tour brochure for more information on how your participation supports their essential work.